Thursday, October 29, 2009

A major step backward

I'm sorry to say, but this month we took a major step backward in our quest to green our lives.
We found the perfect property on a lake in Minnesota, priced right. We wanted this for our family. Our kids are at a great age, and they are growing up so fast. So, now we live on a lake.

The downside?

We're now 45 miles from our jobs (90 mile round trip).
No more biking to work.
Recycling has become a major inconvenience because there is no local recycling station.
The house is smaller than our other home, so we will need to expand it by at least bedroom.

I'm living up to my "gasaholic" name, because now I will be consuming more gas than ever.

So what am I to do? Shall I just accept this setback, say "screw going green?"

No. We're going to pick ourselves up and start all over again.

Our current plan is to improve the efficiency of our fleet. I've been waiting years to buy a Chevy Volt, however I may need to get a Prius or some other small car that gets great mileage. This would replace our Mercury Mountaineer (we would keep it, but just use it for hauling and pulling).

We will also be shifting the kids to local schools.
I will close my office and shift it to the town where the kids will be in school.
My wife is interested in finding a job closer to home, although that may be difficult for her.

Currently we are all commuting together, rather than taking two cars in.
We will get our composter going again.
We will continue to buy recycled paper products.
This house is full of lights that we can replace with CFL's.
And on it goes.

We really love living out here, literally on an island. The nature is just gorgeous, and we look forward to enjoying this new home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shopping for a green car

I've been holding out to buy a Chevy Volt or some other kind of PHEV vehicle.

My wife's car is starting to need to be replaced, so I went shopping for vehicles yesterday.

First stop was Ford, where I was interested in a Fusion hybrid. So far, the 2010 models are not in. The dealer informed me that they will only be getting two of them, and that one is already sold. Of course, they tried to steer me toward a non-hybrid vehicle. I was disappointed.

Next stop was Honda. They had some new 2010 Inisight hybrids in. I got to drive one, and I liked it. The ride is a little "sporty", and the back seat headroom is limited, but I liked how the seats folded down to create a nice cargo space. When I sat down to discuss price with the dealer, he informed me that they have zero ability to negotiate price; "there are no incentives offered by Honda." They didn't want my trade in. Basically, I was told to gfm.

However, they could negotiate on the higher priced Civic hybrid. But that's not what I wanted so I left disappointed.

It sounds like auto dealers are willing to negotiate on their gas suckers, but not on the green cars that I want to buy.

I was also told that the hybrid 'tax credit' dropped from something like $3400 to $1700 on April 1. So it sounds like the government isn't willing to continue providing an incentive to buy highly efficient hybrid vehicles.

This whole experience just underscored my frustration with trying to buy a greener vehicle. With sales of automobiles dropping by half on a year-over-year basis, I would have hoped that I would have been treated differently, and that they would have offered me a car that I want to buy.

I've decided that now is apparently not a good time to buy a new car. I'll just continue driving the 2000 Dodge Caravan Sport another two years or so, and save the money. I won't be saving the economy or the automobile industry, but I'll happily be returning their "gfy" attitude.